Crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, Amboseli National Reserve is one of Kenya’s most common tourist parks. The name “Amboseli” comes from a Maasai word meaning “salty dust”, an apt description for the park’s parched conditions. The reserve is one of the best places to visit on your Africa wildlife safari to view large herds of elephants up close. Other wildlife commonly spotted in the park includes big cats such as lion and cheetah as well as giraffe, impala, eland, waterbuck, gazelle, and more than 600 species of birds.
Amboseli National Park, formerly Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve, is in Kajiado County, Kenya and located in Loitokitok district. The park is 39,206 hectares (392 km2; 151 sq mi) in size at the core of an 8,000 square kilometres (3,100 sq mi) ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border.
Nature lovers can explore five different habitats here ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulfur springs, savannah, and woodlands. As part of your adventure, look for the local Maasai people who live in the area around the park for an amazing Kenya cultural safari tour. The local people are mainly Maasai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area (average 350 mm (14 in)) one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world with 400 species of birds including water birds, pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, hammerkops and 47 types of raptor.
The park protects two of the five main swamps, and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semi-arid vegetation.240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast from the capital city Nairobi, Amboseli National Park is the second most popular national park in Kenya after Maasai Mara National Reserve. In 1883, Joseph Thompson was the first European to penetrate the feared Maasai region known as Empusel (meaning ‘salty, dusty place’ in Maa). He, too, was astonished by the fantastic array of wildlife and the contrast between the arid areas of the dry-lake bed and the oasis of the swamps, a contrast that persists today. Amboseli was set aside as the ‘Southern Reserve’ for Maasai in 1906 but returned to local control as a Game Reserve in 1948.
It is justly famous for its big game – elephant, lion and cheetah are the main attractions – and for its great scenic beauty. There are five main wildlife habitats, plus a generally dry lake-bed – Lake Amboseli – from which the park takes its name. Habitats range from open plains to stands of fever trees, thick thorn-bush and swamps and marshes. All support good wildlife densities.
On your Kenya safari to any Kenya National game park, a game drive is one of the best ways to view wildlife. The drive usually lasts around 3 to 4 hours depending on where the animals are that day and at that time. While in the park, your guide drives through the park trails and when he comes across a major sighting such as one of the so called Big Five, he spends a few minutes at the sighting before he proceeds. Usually two and not more than three vehicles are allowed at a sighting at any one time. The guide normally tries to ensure that all people in the vehicle get a decent photo.
Your Kenya wildlife safari game drive will have a mix of good, sometimes even exciting sightings and plenty of time to just appreciate the animals. The guide tells you a lot about the animals in the park. Besides animals, there is also the chance to learn about other aspects of the bush such as plants, birds, how to track animals for example how to know which animal passed on the basis of their dung among.
However not every game drive is an impressive one, just as not every day will be the best day ever. Sometimes this is because of the weather, it may rain and you fail to see most of the animals. Sometimes you’re just not lucky!
Tips of how to best enjoy your Kenya wildlife safari game drive
Stand through the pop up/rack for better viewing
This gives you the best of all worlds. While standing, you are high up so animal sightings are clear and good, so chances of taking the best pictures are high.
Sit in the middle of the vehicle
If you don’t want to stand while viewing animals, the best position you can sit in to view animals is in the middle.
Ask your guide as many questions as you can
The more you ask, the more you learn. Our guides have more knowledge than they can possibly share with their guests, so keep asking questions.
Have appropriate expectations
Most guides ask their clients what they want to see. Though I can understand why they do this they want to know if someone is really into birds or wildlife. This helps the guide to drive to a direction, where you can see animals of your choice. But try to have as few expectations as possible because animals are seen according to the day.
Our safari guide will try to make sure that everyone in the vehicle is happy. This might require staying longer at a sighting than you personally want so that everyone can get a good shot. Similarly, you may have wanted to stay longer with some animals but others are keen to see a significant sighting which may is be nearby.
Tell us what you want to do, or what you have in mind and we will send you a 100% perfect itinerary for example a 1 Day Amboseli National Park tour in Kenya, 3 Days Kenya safari to Tsavo West & Amboseli National Park, 6 days Kenya wildlife safari to Masai Mara, Nakuru, & Amboseli, 7 Days Amboseli & Masai Mara safari, 12 Days Masai Mara, Nakuru, Amboseli & Tsavo West Kenya safari and many more. We wish you a blessed Kenya safari tour.
More Kenya safari packages
- 8 Days Kenya wildlife safari Samburu, Aberdare, Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara
- 14 Days Tanzania Kenya wildlife safari tour